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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

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AT

took an oath to rencnnee Ms birthright and neTer to beget a son to revive the
cklm. Eeii^e every religious Hmdti accounts it a duty to make him amends
for this want of direct descendants by once a year offering libations to Bhishma's
spirit in the same way as to one of Ms own ancestors. The formula to be used
is as follows:—" 1 present ibis water to the childless hero, Bhishma, of the race
of Vyighrapada, the chief of the house of SankiitL May BhSshma, the son of
the speaker of truth and subjugator of Ms passions, obtain by this
water the oblations due from sons and grandsons."
The story in the Nirakta Yedanga relates to an earlier period in the king's
life, if, indeed, it refers to the same personage at all, which has been doubted
It is there recorded that, on Ms father's death, Santanu took possession of
the throne, though he had an elder brother, by name Det&pi, living. This
violation of the right of primogeniture caused the land to be afflicted with a
drought of twelve years' cenianiiaiicej which was only terminated by the recita-
tion of a hymn of prayer pig Veda, x., 98) composed by Devapi himself, who
tad voluntarily adopted the life of a religious. The name Satoha is absnrdly
derived by the Brahmans of the place from sattu, £bran,' which is said to have
been the royal ascetic's only diet In all probability it is formed from the word
Bantanu itself, combined with some locative affix? such as sthdna.
Ten miles farther to the west is the famous place of Hindu pilgrimage,
Gobardhan, ie,5 according to the literal meaning of the Sanskrit compound, 'the
nurse of cattle.* The town, which is of considerable size, with a population of
4,944, occupies a break in a narrow range of hill, which rises abruptly from the
alluvial pkins and stretches in a south-easterly direction for a distance of some
four or five miles, with an average elevation of about 100 feet.
This is the hill which Krishna is fabled to have held aloft on the tip of his
finger for seven days and nights to cover the people of . Braj from the storms
poured down upon them by Indra when deprived of his wonted sacrifices. In
pictorial representations it always appears as an isolated conical peak, which is
as unlike the reality as possible. It is ordinarily styled by Hindus of the present
day the Gin-raj, or royal hill, bat in earlier literature is more frequently
designated the Anna-bat There is a firm belief in the neighbourhood that,
as the waters of the Jainuua are yearly decreasing in body, so too the sacred
hill Is steadily diminishing in height ; for in past times it was* visible from Aring?
a town four or fiye miles distant, whereas now a few hundred yards are